Bereft of family and friends, Lucy Snowe flees her empty life in England to seek independence and fulfillment in a wider world. Her gambit takes her to the Belgian town of Villette, where she secures a job teaching English to the fractious girls of Madame Beck's boarding school. Sensitive but resolute, Lucy struggles with feelings of isolation, and she despairs of her relationships with an English doctor and a haughty schoolmaster. Her dilemma — finding a romance that offers both intimacy and freedom — remains as resonant today as it was for Victorian readers.
Charlotte Brontë's last and most autobiographical novel is a vivid narrative of deftly drawn characters and memorably depicted places. Originally published in 1853, it reflects the author's deep loneliness at the loss of her siblings. The remarkably modern heroine, a creature of moody complexity, far predates the advent of psychoanalysis. Villette is nevertheless a powerfully moving psychological study, acclaimed by George Eliot as "a still more wonderful book than Jane Eyre," and by Virginia Woolf as "Brontë's finest novel."
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With her final novel, Villette, Charlotte Bronte reached the height of her artistic power. First published in 1853, Villette is Bronte's most accomplished and deeply felt work, eclipsing even Jane Eyre in critical acclaim. Her narrator, the autobiographical Lucy Snowe, flees England and a tragic past to become an instructor in a French boarding school in the town of Villette. There, she unexpectedly confronts her feelings of love and longing as she witnesses the fitful romance between Dr. John, a handsome young Englishman, and Ginerva Fanshawe, a beautiful coquetter. This first pain brings others, and with them comes the heartache Lucy has tried so long to escape. Yet in spite of adversity and disappointment, Lucy Snowe survives to recount the unstinting vision of a turbulent life's journey--a journey that is one of the most insightful fictional studies of a woman's consciousness in English literature.From the Back Cover:
Arguably Bronte's most refined and deeply felt work, Villette draws on her experiences as a student in Brussels as well as her profound loneliness following the deaths of her three siblings. Lucy Snowe, the narrator of Villette, flees from an unhappy past in England to begin a new life as a teacher at a French boarding school in the great cosmopolitan capital of Villette. Soon Lucy's struggle for independence is overshadowed by both her friendship with a worldly English doctor and her feelings for an autocratic schoolmaster. Bronte's strikingly modern heroine must decide if there is any man in her society with whom she can live and still be free.
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